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MUSIC: The ‘Mericans Play Providence

Thursday, January 23, 2014


Chris Daltry

The mood was festive Saturday night at The Parlour, where The ‘Mericans rocked the house with a tremendous show. The Providence band opened the first of two nights of amazing music with a full performance of their new release, A Tribute to Providence, a concept album featuring 20 cover tunes from 20 different RI bands.

Opening Act: Girls Rock

First on stage were two stars of Girls Rock Rhode Island, Maddy Wood and Emma Rome. Girls Rock is a great local organization that uses music to foster empowerment and collaboration among RI’s young ladies. Emma’s set, featuring the singer on “House of the Rising Sun” with only her electric bass accompanying, was especially well received. Both artists show a lot of promise and we look forward to seeing them around Providence in the future.

First Set

The ‘Mericans then took the stage for two full sets of A Tribute to Providence. The new release, available on vinyl, CD, or free digital, is a tour-de-force of local music. It’s an Americana/Alt Rock homage to a number of RI bands, some more well-known than others. Making the album was an ambitious task; it covers musical genres from metal and punk to folk and blues. The good news is, it rocks!

Opening with the unhurried groove of Low Anthem’s “Apothecary Love,” the band kicked it up a notch with String Builder’s “Forces.” Both songs provided a great backdrop for Michael Moore’s cascading guitar swells. The show actually featured a three guitar attack with Moore and ‘Mericans leader Chris Daltry joined by Matt Howard of the band The Brother Kite.

Deer Tick’s “20 Miles” was another early highlight, with the lush guitar sound providing a little more warmth than the original version. A rockin’ take on Roz and the Rice Cakes “Yellow Fields” followed, while the indie pop sound of The Nonpareils came through nicely on “X-Ray.” They closed the first set with a haunting version of Fern Knight’s “If I Could Write a Book About You.”

Second Set

The second set opened to the rockabilly chords of “Tapeworm,” originally by Honeybunch. Momentum grew amid the pounding guitar attack featured on “Time Wraps,” a Velvet Crush power pop masterpiece. Later, the spirit of MC5 was evoked on Three Hydrogen Terror’s punk classic “Radio to Saturn vs. Hackamore Brick.”

One of the more challenging songs to learn, but one of the most satisfying to hear, was “Honeychain,” a Throwing Muses original. It’s pure cosmic Americana, a great tribute to perhaps the most critically acclaimed RI band covered. Not to be outdone, they moved into The Raindogs classic “May Your Heart Keep Beating,” a song once “in rotation on MTV,” band leader Chris Daltry noted.

Next up, was a semi-original tune. With an opening power chord worthy of Neil Young and Crazy Horse, the band rocked out on “Pawtucket,” previously recorded by Daltry’s Purple Ivy Shadows. The tempo slowed briefly for a moody version of Allysen Callery’s “Winter Island,” a spooky love song that rolls over you like a flash fog at midnight. They closed the set with crowd pleasing rockers “Country Boy” by Miracle Legion and “Embrace the Train,” originally recorded by The Figgs.

A Worthy Band

The ‘Mericans were “spot on” all night, building momentum as they worked through the demanding set. Daltry’s vocals, often quivering on the edge of collapse, propel the music forward. At times, his voice actually “jangles” a little, much like his guitar. Not to be forgotten, the rhythm section of Paul Williamson on bass and Matt Rozzero on drums keeps things in order, while occasionally stepping out for a solo.

The band should be admired for their efforts. Typically, albums like this focus on a single artist; covering twenty bands seems overwhelming, but they pull it off with great style. Let’s hope they take it out on the road – this kinda’ thing could catch on!

Ken Abrams reviews Roots, Rock and Blues for GoLocal. He can be contacted at [email protected].


Related Slideshow: 25 Movies Filmed in Rhode Island

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Moonrise Kingdom


Director: Wes Anderson

Cast: Bruce Willis, Edward Norton, Bill Murray Frances McDormand

This Oscar nominated film features many local landmarks including Fort Wetherill State Park, Bayfield Farm, and the Conanicut Lighthouse.

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Mr. North


Director: Danny Huston

Cast: Anthony Edwards, Robert Mitchum, Lauren Bacall

Shot in Newport, this comedy-drama features Anthony Edwards as a con man attempting to break into the 1920s Newport social scene. 

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There's Something About Mary


Directors: Peter and Bobby Farrelly

Cast: Cameron Diaz, Matt Dillon, Ben Stiller

Filmed partly in Providence, this movie was the highest-grossing comedy in 1998. 

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Federal Hill


Director: Michael Corrente

Cast: Nicholas Turturro, Anthony DeSando, Libby Langdon

Set in Providence's Federal Hill neighborhood, the movie marks the directorial debut of Pawtucket native Michael Corrente.

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Age of Innocence


Director: Martin Scorsese

Cast: Daniel Day-Lewis, Michelle Pfeiffer, Winona Ryder

This Oscar winning drama was partly filmed in Portsmouth.  

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True Lies


Director: James Cameron

Cast: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jamie Lee Curtis, Tom Arnold

The ballroom scenes in the movie were filmed at the Rosecliff Mansion in Newport.

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High Society


Director: Charles Walters

Cast: Bing Crosby, Grace Kelly, Frank Sinatra

Nominated for two Academy Awards, the movie's opening shot features a flyover of Newport’s oceanfront mansions. 

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Thirteen Days


Director: Roger Donaldson

Cast: Kevin Costner, Bruce Greenwood, Steven Culp

This docudrama about the Cuban Missile Crisis was partly shot in Newport. 

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Little Children


Director: Todd Field

Cast: Kate Winslet, Patrick Wilson, Jennifer Connelly, Jackie Earle Haley

Shot partly in Providence, this critically acclaimed drama received three Academy Award nominations, including a Best Lead Actress nod for Kate Winslet.

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Director: Peter M. Lenkov

Cast: Ryan Reynolds, Jeff Bridges, Kevin Bacon

A car chase for this action-comedy was filmed in downtown Providence.

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Director: Steven Spielberg

Cast: Morgan Freeman, Anthony Hopkins, Dijimon Hounsou, Matthew McConaughey

Shot at the Rosecliff Mansion in Newport and the State House in Providence, this drama received four Academy Award nominations in 1998. 

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Outside Providence


Director: Michael Corrente

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Filmed in multiple locations throughout Rhode Island, this movie is an adaptation of Peter Farrelly's 1988 novel of the same name.

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Me, Myself & Irene


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Cast: Jim Carrey, Renée Zellweger. Chris Cooper, Robert Forster, Richard Jenkins

Filmed in Newport, Narragansett, Jamestown, and Galilee, this comedy centers on a Rhode Island State Trooper played by Jim Carrey. 

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Director: Lajos Koltai

Cast: Vanessa Redgrave, Claire Danes, Toni Collette, Meryl Streep

The film was primarily set in Newport and included large portions shot at Gooseberry Beach.

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The Great Gatsby


Director: Jack Clayton

Cast: Robert Redford, Mia Farrow, Sam Waterston, Bruce Dern

This Academy Award-winning drama was filmed in Newport at the Rosecliff Mansion on Bellevue Ave.

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Self Storage


Director: Tom DeNucci

Cast: Eric Roberts, Jonathan Silverman, Michael Berryman, Tom DeNucci

Filmed in a self storage facility in East Greenwich, this horror-comedy marks the directorial debut of Cranston native Tom DeNucci. 

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27 Dresses


Director: Anne Fletcher

Cast: Katherine Heigl, James Marsden, Malin Åkerman, Ed Burns

Shot throughout Rhode Island, locations included the Rosecliff and Marble House mansions in Newport and a beach in Charlestown. 

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Dan in Real Life


Director: Anne Fletcher

Cast: Steve Carell, Juliette Binoche, Dane Cook, Alison Pill

Filmed primarily in Jamestown, the movie also features the Point Judith Lighthouse in Narragansett.

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Hachi: A Dog's Tale


Director: Lasse Hallström

Cast: Richard Gere, Joan Allen, Jason Alexander

Filmed primarily in Bristol and Woonsocket, other locations included the Columbus Theater in Providence and the University of Rhode Island in Kingston. 

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The Education of Charlie Banks


Director: Fred Durst

Cast: Jesse Eisenberg, Jason Ritter, Eva Amurri

Shot partially in Brown University in Providence, the movie marks the directorial debut of Limp Bizkit frontman Fred Durst.

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Meet Joe Black


Director: Martin Brest

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Warwick's Aldrich Mansion served as the residence of Anthony Hopkins' character in the film. 

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Reversal of Fortune


Director: Barbet Schroeder

Cast: Jeremy Irons, Glenn Close, Ron Silver

Jeremy Irons took home the Oscar for Best Actor for this drama, which was partly shot in Newport.

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Director: Frederik Du Chau

Cast: Jason Lee, Peter Dinklage, Patrick Warburton, Amy Adams

Shot entirely in Rhode Island, filming locations included Hope High School on the East Side of Providence.

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Tanner Hall


Directors: Francesca Gregorini, Tatiana von Furstenberg

Cast: Rooney Mara, Georgia King, Brie Larson

Shot in Providence and Newport, the film marks the the directorial debut of Brown University graduates Francesca Gregorini and Tatiana von Furstenberg.

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Dumb and Dumber


Directors: Peter and Bobby Farrelly

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Scenes from the beginning of this comedy were filmed on location in Providence, including a shot of the Big Blue Bug.


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